Friday, May 30, 2014

You're not running the race? Go to the Expo anyway!

I'm a Race Expo Addict.  A large hall filled with vendors hawking shoes, gear, gu and glide is my favorite place to be.  Add to it the buzzing excitement of all the runners who are getting ready for the BIG race.  Picking up a bib and a race shirt is fun, but that anxiety of the next day's race can take away from experiencing an expo.  Should I be walking this much?  Am I going to dehydrate in this super air-conditioned room?  Is it okay to take all these supplement samples??  It's much more fun to go to race expos WHEN YOU'RE NOT RUNNING THE RACE.

The RocknRoll San Diego Marathon and half marathon happens this weekend.  That means the Health & Fitness Expo is in town!  Competitor is my FAVORITE race expo.  I've been to enough to have a "favorite", that should tell you something.  I don't even need to go with someone who IS running the race.  Although I do try since expos are always more fun with a buddy.  This time I was solo, which probably worked in my favor since I could easily maneuver the crowds quickly.

Even when I'm alone I tend
to run into friends 
Runners LOVE free stuff.  I'm sure everyone does, but not every sport or hobby has expos where free stuff is expected to be found.  I have yet to find a runner that will turn down a free sample of body lubricant or energy gel.  The Competitor expos attract the biggest and most popular vendors.  This includes the Women's Half in February, another expo that I highly reccomend attending even if you're NOT running.

As soon as you walk quickly past the runners picking up their bibs (no line for me!) and the shirt pick up (sad about not getting the BRIGHT RED shirts for this year) you stop at the SAMPLE TABLE.  This is new and wonderful!!  Young volunteers were handing out packets of STARBUCKS VIA, HYLAND'S LEG CRAMP OINTMENT and some body lubricant.  2 minutes into the expo and already I've got swag in my bag.  The next thing you encounter is the BROOKS official race gear store.  DON'T GET SUCKED INTO THAT.  It's really overpriced race gear.  Unless you're RUNNING the race, you do not need a souvenir beer glass.  And honestly, isn't your race shirt, bib AND MEDAL enough to help you remember the glory of the 2014 RnR San Diego??  Moving on, you come across the BEST expo booth ever.  The BROOKS RUN HAPPY ISLAND.  It's a runners playground, with a "bull riding" shoe, a race up a volcano and a shoe fitting station.  If you go to all three, you get passport stamps and can win some free BROOKS gear.  SOMEONE will win a FREE pair of shoes!  Some of my other favorite vendors this year were the WORLD PLANET Tuna Booth (Who fuels with TUNA?? If I smelled that on a course I'd wonder about that runner's hygiene), the TIGER TAIL booth, and the Celebration Run's booth.

        My Favorite Booths!!                     The Brooks Run Happy Booth 

Besides the awesome swag that you get at an expo, the other perk is the discounts and deals that you get.  I got coupons for supplements, kefir yogurt, sports authority, petco unleashed, and tons more that I won't actually use.  I also got a few CODES that I can share with you!
My expo swag!  ALL FREE! 
              • Hot Chocolate 15k/5k on March 22, 2015 - FREE HAT with code SDHAT1

              • - for RNR SD photo orders use code 22350 for $10 of orders $66 and up

              • All American Hero 5k/10k Challenge August 31st - Use Code 5American for $5 off

              • Color Me Rad on Aug 23rd - Use Code RADVETERAN for free knee socks

Seeing the swag for other races is also a highlight of the race expo experience.  I was personally STOKED to see the GOLD Diva medal for the 2015 Limited Edition Diva race in Temecula.  The new salted watermelon gu was out for everyone to see.  (I personally think warm salted watermelon flavor is gross.  I went to the Women's Half expo in February and had the benefit of being part of the voting                                                                  body.  My choice, Cinnamon apple lost).  

So, if you get the chance, GO to an expo even if you're not running the race.  You could walk away with free stuff, coupons, codes, and tips and tricks to make your next race BETTER.  

Check back soon!  I'll be giving away some of my expo swag!  

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